- Venue: Swellendam
- Date: 3-5 June
How about a relaxing get-away-weekend? Like with so many towns all over South Africa, you always get those few mtb enthusiast jumping in to get their hands dirty for the love of riding bikes in the mountains! Swellendam is no different thanks to passionate people like Sakkie, Wynand and Alison.
Swellendam is mostly know in the cycling community for its success in hosting the one of a kind, Double Century Team Time Trial in November, but now, they have some marked routes thanks to the Marloth National Park and some landowners in the mountains looking down of the lovely town.
Reinette and I packed our bikes and enjoyed the scenery on the easy drive from Cape Town, and was smiling from ear-to-ear when we saw the gorgeous Schoone Oordt Boutique Hotel. Even more so when we read about how Alison and Richard worked tirelessly for 4-years to transform this lovely Cape Victorian style house in simple, stylish comfor
Saturday we joined the “Friends of Marloth”, an initiative to promote the active use of the Marloth National Park for riding and hiking, on their first social outride on their newly marked routes. There are 3 options for all levels, with the 28-kilometer loop we did, a little more challenging with plenty of climbing and some real mtb terrain. The focus at this time is open routes, on a later stage more singletrack will be implemented. Great to see what Sakkie, a full time farmer, with the assistance of some others are doing!
On Sunday we headed out to the Bontebok National Park for a slightly easier mtb outing. This is perfect for family or if you feel like doing a simple 40-kilometer ride while searching for some Bontebok, Cape Mountain Zebra, Red Wildebees and Grey Ribbok. They do have a dedicated mtb section which is just a rougher jeeptrack, but still very easy for anyone to do.
We did not get there this time around, but not to far away from Swellendam is the Grootvadersbos trail network were singletrack is the game, with some accommodation options that could make for a lovely backpack tour.
One can only ride so much, and apart from cycling coffee and food is next on the list! We did not get to try all, but an absolute winner was the steak at Field and Fork with the beef straight from a local Swellendam farm. Breakfast at Schoone Oordt had us pretty motivated to get out bed which is normally very hard on a relaxing weekend like this! And our post ride coffees was a simple choice at the Old Gaol restaurant/coffeeshop, were a warm soup greeted us we planted ourselves in the afternoon sun.
Another favourite that is a must visit is the Rain Spa and Shop. I did not know about this brand, much more something for the ladies, but their soaps, shampoo, creams and many more will sure get you excited, even bought myself some bath-salts for that relaxing alone time in the bath after my rides ;) And since we had such a big ride in Marloth, we did not have a choice but to go for a relaxing rub at the Spa, the Elephant walk, it was a treat, so relaxing, could almost not move for 15-minutes after!
With all these activities and great places, we were mostly blown away with the friendly community. All the staff we encountered were well spoken and a delight. The people that live there, that we got to deal with, are so proud of their town, they stand together and it is heart warming. Thanks Swellendam for a stunning weekend! Cant wait for our next visit.